Brain viewer

Our laboratory has developed powerful visualization tools that provide an easy way to interact with the data online. (The open source software, Pycortex, can be obtained from here.) This page provides links to several online viewers, customized for specific data sets.

Natural speech reveals the semantic maps that tile human cerebral cortexHuth.2016 (Huth et al., Nature, 2016)

In this experiment people passively listened to stories from the Moth Radio Hour while brain activity was recorded. Voxel­-wise modeling was used to determine how each individual brain location responded to 985 distinct semantic concepts in the stories. The demo shows how these concepts are mapped across the cortical surface. The colors on the cortical map show indicate the semantic concepts that will elicit brain activity at that location. The word cloud at right shows words that the model predicts would evoke the largest brain response at the indicated location. Follow the tutorial at upper right to find out more about this tool. You can find more information about this work here.

Cukur.2013Attention during natural vision warps semantic representation across the human brain (Cukur et al., Nature Neuroscience, 2013)

In this experiment people passively watched movies while brain activity was recorded. People had to detect the presence of either “humans” or “vehicles” in the movies. Voxel-wise modeling was used to determine how each individual brain location responded to 985 distinct categories of objects and actions in the movies, and how these responses were modulated by attention. The brain viewer is similar to the one used for passive movie viewing (shown elsewhere on this page). However, there are several additional buttons at right that allow you to select data collected under the three different conditions (left click “Passive Viewing”, “Attending to Humans” or “Attending to Vehicles”). By selecting single brain locations (left click on the brain) or single categories (left click on the WordNet tree), you can see how tuning changes under different states of attention. You can find more information about this work here.

Huth.2012A continuous semantic space describes the representation of thousands of object and action categories across the human brain (Huth et al., Neuron, 2012)

In this experiment people passively watched movies while brain activity was recorded. Voxel-­wise modeling was used to determine how each individual brain location responded to 1785 distinct categories of objects and actions in the movies. The demo shows how these categories are mapped across the cortical surface. On the left is the brain of one person, and on the right is the WordNet tree defining the various categories. The colors painted on the brain indicate the category selectivity of each location, using the colors shown on the tree at right. To move the brain, left click on the brain and move the mouse. To inflate and flatten the brain left click the buttons at bottom, or use the slider. To see which categories activate some specific point in the brain, left click on the brain. This will change the WordNet tree at right so that it shows categories that activate (red) or suppress (blue) activity in that voxel. (To return the WordNet tree to the original colors left click the “Show Semantic Space” button.) To see how some specific category is represented on the cortical surface, left click a category in the WordNet tree. This will change the brain so that it shows locations that are activated (red) or suppressed (blue). You can find more information about this work here.

Online cortical anatomy viewer

To understand any study of the human cerebral cortex, it is critical to have a good sense of human cortical neuroanatomy. The classical way to learn neuroanantomy is to memorize the patterns and names of sulci and gyri shown in static photos of slices or volumes. This viewer uses pycortex to provide a more dynamic, interactive atlas of the sulci and gyri of the human cerebral cortex. The cortical surface can also be inflated and flattened so that the relationship between locations in the original 3D volume and on the flattened cortical surface can be visualized easily. At the current time the brain viewer only lists abbreviations for the various sulci and gyri.

Pycortex retinotopy demo

retinotopyPrimary visual cortex is organized retinotopically. That is, there is a systematic relationship between points on the retina and points on primary visual cortex. Several of the visual areas that receive projections from primary visual cortex are also retinotopically organized. This viewer shows brain activity elicited by a standard retinotopic mapping stimulus, a moving checkerboard.